Governor Babantunde Fashola of Lagos State, has faulted the proposed bill seeking the establishment of the Nigeria International Financial Centre, NIFC, for the country.
It will be recalled that the bill seeking the establishment of the centre which is expected to gulp N5.69 billion, according to the financial compendium attached to the bill, scaled through the second reading on the floor of the Senate last May.
The governor, in an interview with pressmen yesterday, at the end of the technical session of the 10th Lagos Executive/Legislative parley, themed ‘Towards perpetuating the culture and practice of excellence,’ held in Lekki axis of the state, said that the measure is against the 1999 constitution.
He also demanded urgent review of the 1977 decree which changed the Lagos Stock Exchange into Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, saying “this negates the global standards.”
According to him, “We have looked at and we think that there is a tendency that there may be over legislation on the bill. The intention of the bill is well defined in the activities of Nigeria Stock Exchange, NSE and the Security and Exchange Commission, (SEC), Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and other agencies of the central government.”
“There is also doubt about whether one can legislate the existence of a financial centre. Is the legislation aimed at achieving a geographic entity for it or the creation of an agency to create regulatory frame work? It also seeks to set up an appellate court. It is very clear in defiance and in conflict with the constitution itself.
“The idea that Lagos is the financial centre for the country is one that is hard to debate due to the location of the stock exchange and the number of industries in the state. It shows that it doesn’t need any legislation to define. This is evident in other countries like England, as one will find in London as against Liverpool and others,” he said.
The governor said, “I think the time has come for us to begin to look at the legislation that was passed during the military administration that is decrees and acts. I think that was when the Lagos Stock Exchange became the Nigerian Stock Exchange, in unification for the country.
“Perhaps there is the need for us to go back to what is best global practice because we have the Johannesburg, Paris, New York and we don’t have the American Stock Exchange or German and others.”